AB 680 (Chan): Improving Involvement of Limited-English Proficient Parents
Nearly 1.6 million Californian students, or one in four children, are English Learners who come from homes where English is not the primary language. Absent translated documents or other language assistance, limited-English proficient (LEP) parents are unable to communicate with educators and locked out of their children’s education. When parents cannot understand their children’s report cards, enrollment forms, disciplinary notices, standardized testing information, and other vital documents, they are prevented from meaningfully participating in the education of their children.
Under Education Code §48985, schools are required to translate notices, reports, statements, and records when at least 15 percent of the student population speak a language other than English. Despite this legal duty, a CAA | Chinese for Affirmative Action survey of the California Department of Education (CDE) and ten school districts, found that a number of districts are unaware of their obligations or are not translating critical documents for parents. In 2005, AACRE also successfully advocated for Audit Request #2005-137, a state audit of CDE and school districts to assess their compliance with existing law. The final audit found that compliance with translation requirements was very low for many Asian languages. You can find the full report here.
AACRE sponsored AB 680 (Chan), which will strengthen compliance with
Education Code §48985 by:
- Requiring CDE to monitor schools and school districts in translating written materials through the existing coordinated compliance review process; and
- Requiring CDE to inform schools if they are impacted by Education Code §48985 using existing data that is already collected.
AB 680 was signed into law and will become effective starting January 1,
2007. California Department of Education has created a Translations Advisory
Group that will provide feedback on the implementation of legislation as well as the budget funding described below.
AACRE also successfully won state budget funding to address this issue:
- $267,000 to fund the establishment and operations of the CDE Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents, an online, centralized website for schools, districts, and CDE to share their translated materials for parents. The website can be found at www.cde.ca.gov/ls/pf/cm/.
- $450,000 to fund the translation of statewide documents for parents into multiple languages. These translated documents will be posted on the CDE Clearinghouse for Multilingual Documents as they become available.